European Communication Research
and Education Association

Log in


Digital Fortress Europe: Exploring Boundaries between Media, Migration and Technology

  • 30.10.2019
  • 31.10.2019
  • Brussels, Belgium

Digital Fortress Europe: Exploring Boundaries between Media, Migration and Technology

30 and 31 October 2019, Brussels, Belgium

The two-day conference “Digital Fortress Europe” intends to be a forum to reflect on the relations between media, migration, and technology. These relations demand our fullest attention because they touch on the essence of what migration means in societies that are undergoing democratic challenges. Research shows that media and technologies play a vital role for people who migrate, but that the same media and technologies serve to spread xenophobia, increase societal polarization and enable elaborate surveillance possibilities. With its intensifying anti-migration populist discourses, humanitarian border crises and efforts to secure borders through technological solutions, the European context provides a pulsating scene to examine such deepening relations. Taking place in the heart of Europe’s political capital, this conference aims to critically reflect on what the much-debated notion of “Fortress Europe” means in the digital age and how it can guide our future thinking on media and migration. As such, scholars of media, communication, migration and technology will be stimulated to contribute to critical discussions on border politics and migration debates.

The thematic focus of this conference is on media, migration and technology and all their possible linkages and intersections. While significant attention goes to digital technologies and social media, the organizers do aim for a broad focus that also includes traditional media, and aspects of media production, organization, consumption, representation and policy.

The three confirmed keynote speakers will be:

- Dr Payal Arora (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
- Professor Huub Dijstelbloem (University of Amsterdam)
- Professor Myria Georgiou (London School of Economics)

Besides the keynotes and parallel paper presentations the programme will also include a public event, a PhD masterclass and a book launch (details to be confirmed in the final programme).

The conference takes place at the Palace of the Academies in the centre of Brussels (Hertogstraat 1, 1000 Brussel).

The conference is organized by the European Communication Research & Education Association’s (ECREA) Diaspora, Migration & the Media (DMM) section in collaboration with the ECREA’s International & Intercultural Communication (IIC) section, the Young Scholars Network of ECREA (YECREA), the Netherlands-Flemish Communication Association (NeFCA), and has received support from the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB).

The organizers welcome submissions for paper presentations on the following three broad themes:

- Borders and media technologies, particularly focusing on critical research on biometrics, algorithms, drones and cartography.

- Producing and circulating meanings and media on migration, including work on discourse and representation, journalism, popular culture and policy.

- Media uses and technologies by and for migrants and diasporas, including research on activism, identity, emotion/affect, education, well-being, language and mediated social relations.

Especially welcome are submissions rooted in critical cultural studies, critical data studies, postcolonial studies, feminist research and from scholars who build bridges between academia, policy, activism, arts and public debate.


Please submit a 500-word abstract in an anonymized MS Word file only (other formats or non-anonymized documents will not be considered) per e-mail to Please mention “Submission Brussels Conference” in your e-mail subject.

A separate call for the related PhD masterclass will soon be circulated.

After the evaluation of abstracts, accepted authors will be invited to submit full papers in order to be considered for the Best Paper Award (junior award and senior award) and for a possible publication in a Special Issue and/or a book. We refer to previous collaborations in the form of a special issue of the European Journal of Cultural Studies (Sage), Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture (Intellect), Communications: The European Journal for Communication Research (Mouton De Gruyter).


- 17 December 2018: launch call for papers
- 22 February 2019: deadline abstract submission
- 15 April 2019: notification of acceptance
- 10 May 2019: opening of registrations
- 1 July 2019: publication of final programme
- 15 September 2019: closing of registrations
- 30-31 October 2019: conference

Organizing team

- Kevin Smets, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, ECREA DMM vice-chair (local organizing committee)
- Yazan Badran, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (local organizing committee)
- Paola Condemayta Soto, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (local organizing committee)
- Koen Leurs, Utrecht University, ECREA DMM chair
- Irati Agirreazkuenaga, University of the Basque Country, ECREA DMM vice-chair
- Melis Mevsimler, Utrecht University, ECREA DMM young scholars representative
- Leen d’Haenens, KU Leuven
- Alexander Dhoest, University of Antwerp
- Stijn Joye, Ghent University



Chaussée de Waterloo 1151
1180 Uccle

Who to contact

Support Young Scholars Fund

Help fund travel grants for young scholars who participate at ECC conferences. We accept individual and institutional donations.



Copyright 2017 ECREA | Privacy statement | Refunds policy